Manipulatives are objects used to assist learning and engage early learners in play-based and hands-on learning. They are used in classrooms from early learning all the way through high school to introduce and assist with different concepts. Some parents are unaware that they already have learning assistive manipulatives at home, while others may be looking to add to their collection of learning-based toys. At-home manipulatives (disguised as toys) can help your child to advance more quickly in learning their letters, numbers, colors, and shapes; progress in hand/eye coordination and motor skills; and even begin to build musical aptitude. See the list below for four must-have manipulatives for early learners!
Serving as a director for a tutoring center, I often found bewildered parents in my office wondering how their child could be struggling all of a sudden. This was especially true for early learners leaving voluntary pre-kindergarten (VPK) and entering kindergarten. I once spoke with parents whose child's teacher had just told them that if she doesn't pass the next benchmark assessment, they may want to consider waiting to enroll her in kindergarten. They were confused—"it's only pre-k…she was doing so well earlier." I often thought that if only the parents had known the warning signs of academic struggle, the issue could have been addressed earlier or the parents could be more prepared to hear that their child may need another year of VPK before moving on.
Have you and your early learner been stuck inside lately due to rain or snow? I surveyed my friends and colleagues to find out their screen-free, fun, and easy rainy day secrets!
In my career I've worked with countless students, Pre-K through adult, who are led to believe that they’ll never understand or be skilled at math because they like reading better, or vice versa. In a world of standardized testing, it’s easy to see how students can come to feel this way. Students are constantly assessed in math and reading—it’s only natural that those who are more skilled at one than the other could, out of frustration, come to see them as opposites. The belief that “I’m just not good at this” is a difficult hurdle for any learner to overcome. In my experience, this attitude is easier to break in younger students, particularly the earliest years of K-5.
On Friday, December 11th, I visited the Joseph H. Messina Children's Center to observe CCSWFL's youngest volunteer, Tillman (9-years-old), and her father Bill interacting with the early learners. Bill and Tillman began volunteering in early November of 2015, and are regular volunteers at the Joseph H. Messina Center continuing into the New Year.
Scientific studies have shown that nearly all of the neurons in the brain are developed by age five. This is the primary reason why early learning has such a big impact on a child's future; by the time a five-year-old attends Kindergarten, their brain is nearly fully-developed. Unfortunately for many families, a quality early education is simply out of their financial reach. That’s why Child Care of Southwest Florida has a scholarship program in place for you to be able to help these children get the outstanding education they would otherwise miss out on.
Early next year, readers will have the opportunity to hear from Child Care of Southwest Florida's youngest volunteer, Tillman (9-years-old), and her father, Bill. Tillman's involvement with the Joseph H. Messina Center got us thinking—what other ways can we help our children to become involved helping our communities, forge valuable community connections, and acquire great values along the way? See the list below for some great ideas for volunteering with your child: